Yesterday was the first day I fired my kiln since the big repair and house reconstruction. I had tested it to see if the elements lid up, but had not run it through a complete sequence until now.
This was a computerized bisque kiln firing of a Skutt 1018. The program I entered ran through it's sequence, but the firing took over 16 hours. Much too long. Granted, it was a very slow ramp sequence, but I'll reprogram the temperatures for a faster fire next time. I think I can up the temperature range and judging from the witness cones, the kiln fired a little cooler than it has previously.
That's the thing about kilns, they are always evolving. So even though you may think you know how it will fire from one time to the next, it's a really good idea to load it up with cones to make sure you know whether it has begun to fire cooler or hotter.
I record everything I can about the firing, the cones, the size and composition of the load, whether the greenware is really dry or maybe a bit wet. If I suspect there is still a little moisture in some pieces, I will program in a hold at the lower two temperature ranges.
Everything came through fine, no cracks, no explosions, no problems. Whew!